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MA Passes Trans Rights Bill Despite Its One Large Flaw

The Massachusetts state senate just passed the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, making The Bay State the 16th U.S. state to offer protections to transgender people. Democratic Governor Deval Patrick has already agreed to sign it. The bill will add gender identity as a “protected class” in the state’s hate crime laws and will prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in jobs, housing, insurance, mortgage loans and credit. However it stops short of protecting trans people from being harassed in public. Oh well.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Nov 16, 2011
Tagged: , , ,

  • 8 Comments
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      Why does this article say “it stops short of protecting trans people from being harassed in public” when the included link is not about harassment (and after all, it’s illegal to harass *anyone*) but about public accommodations?

      Nov 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mercedes Allen
      Mercedes Allen

      @Hyhybt: “Harassed” is probably not the best word. The bill doesn’t include protections against discrimination with regard to public accommodations. So it is still perfectly legal to refuse services and housing in any space that fits that term, likely including homeless shelters, etc. The omission was a concession made to “washroom panic,” even though that’s an unfounded fear.

      Nov 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mercedes Allen
      Mercedes Allen

      @Hyhybt: “Harassed” is probably not the best word. The bill doesn’t include protections against discrimination with regard to public accommodations. So it is still perfectly legal to refuse services and housing in any space that fits that term, likely including homeless shelters, etc. The omission was a concession made to “washroom panic,” even though that’s an unfounded fear. Worse, it creates a precedent for legislation elsewhere, and creates the impression that there must have been just cause for the omission.

      Nov 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      @Mercedes Allen: I know it. I was just pointing out that what structurally ought to be a summary of the linked article is nothing of the sort.

      Nov 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GayGOP
      GayGOP

      While this is not an ideal bill by any means, this is at least a step in the right direction. It can take many years to move forward, but forward we will move, and our Trans-brethren will one day be given their rightful protections.

      Nov 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zoe Brain
      Zoe Brain

      @GayGOP:

      While this is not an ideal bill by any means, this is at least a step in the right direction. It can take many years to move forward, but forward we will move, and our Trans-brethren will one day be given their rightful protections.

      Gays have had “Public Accomodations” protection in Mass. since 1989. Trans were deliberately excluded then, but were told they’d be come back for later.

      So no, it doesn’t take “many years” it takes many decades, if they’re not included from the start. We don’t know how many decades, because Mass still doesn’t have the PA protections won for Gays in 1989. More than 2 anyway.

      Only one GOP member voted for this bill. About ten Democrats voted against. So while it’s a problem for the GOP, it’s bi-partisan. Had PA protections been included, it never would have been put to a vote, thanks entirely to DNC reps. The GOP was implacably opposed regardless.

      So it’s still legal in Mass to:
      Refuse Trans people service at lunch counters.
      Refuse to treat them in ERs
      Refuse to let them onto buses, or insist they sit at the back.
      Refuse to let them use public drinking fountains or restrooms.

      The sad thing is – this bill is still a massive improvement on the existing situation.

      Nov 17, 2011 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • R.A.
      R.A.

      Suffragists worked their butts off to end slavery, but when voting rights were granted to black men in 1868, women were told to “wait their turn.”
      Their “turn” came 52 years later.

      Nov 20, 2011 at 5:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mercedes Allen
      Mercedes Allen

      @R.A.: That was a major failure, yes, but the fact that it happened before is not a reason to do it again.

      Nov 20, 2011 at 10:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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